I would like to invite you to take a walk into the woods with us.
This issue was meant to be published in September, a season of holidays and harvests but instead it is out in the witching month of October. However, this feels somewhat apt for this witching issue with woods that beguile and haunt, with princes who must pay a debt to trees, with Red Riding Hoods confronting secret familial traumas, with a version of Tam Lin which is very different from anything I’ve read before, to a walk into an underworld where all dead girls go and where they are transformed into something precious and rare.
We’ve a wealth in our reprints as well with strange and beguiling stories that spiral into the archetypal markers of folklore and mythology, with different sorts of witchery. Because the world gets darker and grimmer by the day but in our dreams and nightmares we may sometimes find the answers we seek about how we navigate these times. Into the woods, into the underworld, into the barren wastelands of myth and legend.
The poems I’ve selected seem to almost be in counterpoint, or dialogue with the stories, with a tale of a dead woman with secrets that reach into the sea, a conversation with a Nigerian witch, and a delightfully menacing re-telling of Red Riding Hood which is thematically congruent with two stories in this issue.
Truancy 6 marks a significant change for the magazine, which has been in operation since 2015 (although I began soliciting and accepting submissions in 2014). Firstly, we are on our own Truancy-specific domain, leaving behind previous issues and the DS (Delinquent’s Spice/Demeter’s Spicebox) issues on its own archives site. The reason for this was not to break up issues and not to burden authors of those issues with another URL change, but all future issues will be archived on this domain. Secondly, this marks a transition to three issues a year. Thirdly, my hunt for an Associate Editor for Truancy has come to a partial end with Eileen Gunnell Lee coming on board. Eileen writes wonderful prose and is also a thoughtful editor with a work ethic I respect. I am very pleased with the work she’s done as copy-editor for the excellent stories I’ve acquired. I feel that with two heads, Truancy will now go to exciting places, and I’m looking forward into expanding the Truancy editorial board further!
Finally, I’ve capitulated and set up a method via which you, dear Reader, may support Truancy. It’s via Ko-Fi and every issue I’ll thank the people who have contributed towards the issue and provide an accounting of monies spent. For this issue, I’d like to thank Charlotte Ashley, Catherine George, Elad Haber and Rodney Catling for their contributions. I’d also like to thank the wonderful Angela Slatter who gifted our ko-fi account a Gold membership. USD12 (although we got a little less after Paypal deductions) goes straight towards the partial payment of one poet.
The total cost of producing this issue : USD290.72 (MYR 1217.10)
At some point, it would be nice if Truancy could break even but for now, I’m happy with whatever people may want to contribute as I always ran this as a non-profit, a gift to the SFF and folklore/mythology community.
Our beautiful cover art is once again from the delightful Malaysian artist and chanteuse, Karen Nunis Blackstone. This painting speaks to me of the secrets of the dark woods, and they felt like they could be bunian maidens, caught up in an eldritch dance. To me, it encapsulates everything that captured me in these Issue 6 stories, and in the beautiful witching poems. Truancy 6 is an issue that delights me to the depths of my soul, and it was a pleasure to work on it together with Eileen. On the behalf of the both of us, I hope you enjoy what these incredible authors and poets have to offer.
Nin Harris, PhD